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Why Tesla Stock Soared Past $640 on Thursday

By Daniel Sparks - Updated Jan 30, 2020 at 10:29AM

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The electric-car maker is generating substantial free cash flow, and sales are expected to continue rising sharply in 2020.

What happened

Shares of electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA -2.62%) surged to an all-time high on Thursday. As of 10 a.m. EST today, the stock was up 10.2%, putting it at about $640.

The stock's gain follows the automaker's strong fourth-quarter results and news that its new electric Model Y crossover is coming to market earlier than expected. Revenue and earnings per share during the period beat analysts' average expectations, and free cash flow jumped.

Tesla's Model S, 3, X, and Y

From left to right, Tesla's Model S, 3, X, and Y. Image source: Tesla.

So what

Revenue was $7.4 billion, trumping analysts' average forecast of $7.0 billion. Adjusted EPS of $2.14 also came in ahead of a consensus estimate for $1.72.

"2019 was a turning point for Tesla," management said in the company's fourth-quarter update. "We demonstrated strong organic demand for Model 3, returned to GAAP profitability in [the second half of 2019], and generated $1.1B of free cash flow for the year. We achieved strong cash generation through persistent cost control across the business."

Now what

Looking to 2020, management said it expects total deliveries to "comfortably exceed 500,000 units," up from about 368,000 in 2019.

Catalysts expected to help drive sales during the year include the start of Model Y deliveries in March and the ramp-up of Model 3 production at the company's new factory in Shanghai.

And it's important to note that the automaker maintained its view that its business has grown to the point of being self-funding, making the growth stock more attractive to some investors who have worried that the automaker would have to keep raising capital.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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